Phlebotomist Training Programs
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Huntsville Alabama
Perhaps the most serious decision you must make to enter the gratifying healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to select the right phlebotomy school near Huntsville AL. There are a number of training programs available to you and it may seem like an intimidating task to investigate and analyze each one. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. More often than not the two qualifications that first come to mind for student applicants are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. Whether you will drive to classes or attend them online is another consideration as well. Online courses will be discussed in more detail a bit later. So when comparing phlebotomy training programs, cost and location shouldn’t be the only criteria you are looking at. Finding out if the program is accredited or if the school has a job assistance program should also be part of your due diligence process. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. The basic definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Huntsville AL medical facilities, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Huntsville AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the primary certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for some Huntsville AL students. As an added benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Huntsville AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Huntsville AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with several Huntsville AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Huntsville AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Huntsville AL health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Huntsville AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Huntsville Phlebotomist Training Program
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Huntsville Alabama.